BBAFC leap into 1st Division

Bucklands Beach Association Football Club (BBAFC) has secured promotion to the NRFL Division One competition for next season.

It means two promotions in two seasons after the club gained promotion to division 2 this season.

BBAFC president Andy Pullar said it is almost a year to the day since the BBAFC Men’s First team celebrated promotion from AFF Conference to NRFL Division Two, the highest level the club had ever attained.

Within the space of one season the team made another leap up the ladder by gaining promotion to the NRFL Division One.

“It’s an outstanding achievement in itself, and made even more impressive by the fact that there are still four matches left in the regular season,” said Pullar.

The rapid climb through the ranks is attributed to the hard work of the coaching staff, management, and the players over the last three years.

“It’s fantastic for a club like Bucklands Beach to be able to experience success like this using largely locally-based players,” he said.

“It was important to us from the start to recruit the right players for the club, Charlie Hoyle (who won the premier league and Chatham Cup last season) was obviously a major coup and his experience has been invaluable to the young players both on and off the field.”

The club’s coaching staff are proud to have achieved success with this group.

“The players don’t need incentives other than to do well for the club,” said Pullar.

“If they are here for any other reason then they are the wrong fit for Bucklands Beach. That attitude has been important to us.”

There are many examples across Auckland clubs of short term success achieved without the club’s long term vision in mind.

“To be able to achieve the success we have without compromising the values agreed between the coaches and committee is something that we are all very proud of,” said Pullar.

“I believe the club is in great shape moving forward into the first division. The challenge now is to consolidate our place in the 1st division.”

BBAFC Senior Convenor Paul MacKenzie said: “We believe BBAFC is a first division club. The first division is full of clubs with proud northern league histories and we are looking forward to trying to establish ourselves within these big clubs.”

What helped get BBAFC in the NRFL Division One:

  • Expertly coached by coaching staff of Head Coach Murray Saunders, assisted by Scott Foster and Ben Murphy bringing years of playing and coaching experience.
  • Experienced players like Scott Foster, Charlie Hoyle, Mitch Healy bringing their knowledge and understanding to the team in playing NRFL football.
  • Very encouraging to see players like Josh Smith, Ben De Ruiter, Lucas Stead, Ethan Butler having played all their junior and youth football at Bucklands Beach and now representing the club at the highest level.
  • Youth players coming through with more than 12 players currently under 19 and making regular appearances for Reserves and First team.
  • Strong synergy between the Reserves and First team, with Reserves sitting 3rd in their competition being ably coached for the first time by Josh Dobson.  Players like brothers Kieren and Danny MacKenzie, Jack Nevines coming up from the Reserves and making
  • Golden Boot — Josh Smith having scored 15 times, followed by Dan Culpan on 10.
  • Solid defence with 7 clean sheets for the season by keeper Mohammed Hanif (Spider)
  • The team has shown great resilience and determination in a number of games where they grind out a win often in the last quarter of the game.
  • Had to deal with some adversity, captain Keegan Bishop being out for weeks with concussion, Scott Foster having broken his leg while playing Northland.